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And his left hand upon his collar layd.
Therewith the Cowheard, deaded with affright,
Fell flat to ground, ne word unto him sayd,
But, holding up his hands, with silence mercie prayd.
But he so full of indignation was,
That to his prayer nought he would incline,
But, as he lay upon the humbled gras,
His foot he set on his vile necke, in signe
Of servile yoke, that nobler harts repine.
Then, letting him arise like abiect thrall,
He gan to him obiect his haynous crime,
And to revile, and rate, and recreant call,
And lastly to despoyle of knightly bannerall.
And after all, for greater infamie,
He by the heeles him hung upon a tree,
And baffuld so, that all which passed by
The picture of his punishment might see,
And by the like ensample warned bee,
However they through treason doe trespasse.
But turne we now backe to that Ladie free,
Whom late we left ryding upon an asse,
Led by a Carle and Foole which by her side did passe.
She was a Ladie of great dignitie,
XXVI. 9. — Bannerall.] Banderolle, Fr. - This was the standard of a knight, and was shaped like a swallow's tail. The banner was square, and denoted a knight banneret, a higher rank than that of knight.
XXVII. 8. – Whom late we left, &c.] See the sixteenth stanza of the preceding canto.
XXVIII. 1. — She was a Ladie, &c.] Upton conjectures that the
And lifted up to honorable place,
Famous through all the Land of Faërie :
Though of meane parentage and kindred base,
Yet deckt with wondrous giftes of natures grace,
That all men did her person much admire,
And praise the feature of her goodly face;
The beames whereof did kindle lovely fire 1
In th’harts of many a Knight, and many a gentle Squire:
But she thereof grew proud and insolent,
That none she worthie thought to be her fere,
But scornd them all that love unto her ment;
Yet was she lov’d of many a worthy Pere:
Unworthy she to be belov'd so dere,
That could not weigh 3 of worthinesse aright:
For beautie is more glorious bright and clere,
The more it is admir'd of many a wight,
And noblest she that served is of noblest Knight.
But this coy Damzell thought contráriwize,
That such proud looks would make her praysed more;
And that, the more she did all love despize,
The more would wretched Lovers her adore.
What cared she who sighed for her sore,
Or who did wayle or watch the wearie night?
Let them that list their lucklesse lot deplore;
She was borne free, not bound to any wight,
And so would ever live, and love her own delight.
Through such her stubborne stifnesse and hard hart,
Many a wretch for want of remedie
Did languish long in life-consuming smart,
And at the last through dreary dolour die:
Whylest she, the Ladie of her libertie,
Did boast her beautie had such soveraine might,
That with the onely twinckle of her eye
She could or save or spill whom she would hight 3: What could the Gods doe more, but doe it more aright?
But loe! the Gods, that mortall follies vew,
Did worthily revenge this Maydens pride;
And, nought regarding her so goodly hew,
Did laugh at her that many did deride,
Whilest she did weepe, of no man mercifide 4:
For on a day, when Cupid kept his Court,
As he is wont at each Saint Valentide,
Unto the which all Lovers doe resort,
That of their Loves successe they there may make report;
It fortun’d then, that when the roules5 were red,
In which the names of all Loves folke were fyled,
That many there were missing; which were ded,
Or kept in bands, or from their Loves exyled,
Or by some other violence despoyled.
Which whenas Cupid heard, he wexed wroth;
· Dolour, affliction.
2 Spill, spoil, destroy.
* Mercifide, pitied.
6 Roules, rolls, record.
6 Fyled, kept in files, registered.
And, doubting 1 to be wronged or beguyled,
He bad his eyes to be unblindfold both,
That he might see his men, and muster them by oth.
Then found he many missing of his crew,
Which wont doe suit and service to his might;
Of whom what was becomen no man knew.
Therefore a Iurie was impaneld streight
T'enquire of them, whether by force or sleight,
Or their owne guilt, they were away convayd:
To whom foule Infamie and fell Despight
Gave evidence, that they were all betrayd
And murdred cruelly by a rebellious Mayd.
Fayre Mirabella was her name, whereby
Of all those crymes she there indited was:
All which when Cupid heard, he by and by
In great displeasure wild a Capias
Should issue forth t'attach that scornefull Lasse.
The Warrant straight was made, and therewithall
A Baylieffe errant forth in post did
passe, Whom they by name there Portamore did call; He which doth summon Lovers to Loves Iudgement Hall.
XXXV. 4.- A Capias.] This is a Latin word, meaning you may take; and when law proceedings were in that language, it was used in the commencement of a writ or precept, commanding the officer to take the body of the defendant. Hence a writ directing the arrest of the body is still called a capias.
XXXV.7.- A Baylieffe errant.] Literally, a wandering bailiff or officer.
XXXV.8.– Portamore.] This word is from the Latin, and means the carrier or messenger of Love.
The Damzell was attacht, and shortly brought
Unto the Barre whereas she was arrayned:
But she thereto nould plead, nor answere ought,
Even for stubborne pride, which her restrayned:
So iudgement past, as is by law ordayned
In cases like: Which when at last she saw,
Her stubborne hart, which love before disdayned,
Gan stoupe ; and, falling downe with humble awe,
Cryde mercie, to abate the extremitie of law.
The Sonne of Venus, who is myld by kynd,
But where he is provokt with peevishnesse,
Unto her prayers piteously enclynd,
And did the rigour of his doome represse;
Yet not so freely, but that nathëlesse
He unto her a penance did impose,
Which was, that through this worlds wyde wildernes
She wander should in companie of those,
Till she had sav'd so many Loves as she did lose.
So now she had bene wandring two whole yeares
Throughout the world, in this uncomely case,
Wasting her goodly hew in heavie teares,
And her good dayes in dolorous disgrace;
Yet had she not in all these two yeares space
Saved but two; yet in two yeares before,
Through her dispiteous pride, whilest love lackt place,
XXXVII. 8. – Of those.] That is, of Disdain and Scorn.
XXXVIII. 7. -- Lackt place.] Found no place in her heart.